Phil Aitken
Phil Aitken

How do I make an offer on a house?

Are you wondering how to make an offer to buy a house? In this video, we explain the steps to take when you find a house you love. We also provide answers to common questions like…

  • How do I know what the house is valued at?
  • When can I close on the house?
  • What are the key elements of an offer to make on a home?
  • What are contingencies and how do they affect the offer?
  • What are the different types of offers that can be made on a home?
  • How can I negotiate with the seller and work through any counteroffers?

How Do I Make an Offer On a Home I Like?

“How do I make an offer on a home?” is a common question for first-time home buyers. Once you’ve found the perfect home, what do you do next? After months of searching, the last thing you want is for another buyer to end up with your dream home. 

While you can’t guarantee the home seller will accept your offer, there are steps you can take to submit an offer that stands out from other buyers.

In this post, our realtors at Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team will cover how to make the best possible offer on a home.

How Do I Make an Offer On a Home I Like?

First, decide how much you want to offer. Your offer doesn’t have to reflect the listing price– it can be higher or lower. It’s common to submit an offer slightly lower than the asking price to see if the home seller has room to negotiate. 

A lower offer may also be justified if the home has been sitting on the market for an extended period, needs significant repairs, or is overpriced compared to similar homes in the area. Your realtor can help you decide on a fair offer to submit.

Next, decide if you want to include any contingencies in your offer. For example, a contingency that lets you pull out of the deal if the home appraises for less than its asking price or doesn’t pass a pre-inspection. Your offer should also include a prospective closing date.

In addition, your offer should also specify how big of an earnest money deposit you’ll put down. The earnest money deposit is a sign that shows the home seller how serious you are about the home. It’s held in escrow until the deal closes.

The last step is to write an offer letter explaining to the seller how much you like their home. Your realtor will help you write the letter.

What is the Rule of Thumb When Making an Offer on a Home?

If you’re wondering, “How do I make an offer on a home,” there’s a rule of thumb to remember about how much earnest money to put down. This rule is that the earnest money deposit should be between three to five percent of the home’s asking price. 

If the market is especially hot and there’s heavy competition from other home buyers, you might consider an earnest money deposit as high as ten percent.

How to Make an Offer on a House Without Insulting the Seller?

If you want to submit a slightly lower offer, it’s possible you might insult the home seller. However, there are ways to submit a low offer and negotiate without offending them. 

First, if you’re going to submit a lower offer be prepared to have some housing market data to justify it. Have your realtor compile a list of recently sold and currently listed similar homes in the area that were at a lower price.

You can also justify a lower offer by pointing out specific features of the home that detract from its value, such as:

  • A smaller lot size
  • A non-ideal location, such as being next to a busy street
  • Neighbors with poor curb appeal
  • Necessary repairs

Most of all, it’s important to be respectful. The home seller likely won’t be offended as long as your offer is reasonable. Even if they don’t agree with it, it’ll serve as a basis for negotiations.

Can I Make An Offer On A Home Without A Realtor?

Yes, it’s possible to make an offer on a home without a realtor. However, it’ll take more work on your end to research comparable homes in the area and determine the price of your offer. You’ll also need to handle the legal paperwork and documentation at all steps of the transaction.

It will also be your responsibility to research the history of the property itself to find its title history and previous sales. You’ll also need to apply for pre-approval before preparing your offer. 

When preparing the actual offer, you’ll need to determine all the factors discussed above: contingencies, the earnest money deposit, and the actual offer amount. You should also consider hiring a real estate attorney.

How To Make Your Home Offer More Appealing?

One of the best ways to make your offer more appealing to home sellers is by offering a higher price. This is a great way to stand out in a crowded seller’s market when more buyers are competing for a smaller amount of homes.

Another key way to make your offer more appealing is to get pre-approval. Home sellers like to see that you’ve secured your financing. That way, they know the transaction won’t run into any unexpected delays down the road.

Other ways to make an appealing offer are to be flexible with your closing date, make a larger earnest money deposit, and be open to compromise during negotiations.

Can I Make An Offer On a Home That Is Contingent?

Yes, you can make an offer on a home that is contingent upon several things. For example, your offer could be contingent on:

  • Being able to get financing from a lender
  • The home inspection not turning up any major repairs
  • The appraisal value falling at or below the listing price
  • The sale of your previous home going through
  • A title search that doesn’t turn up any issues 

Some contingencies are more common than others, like the ones tied to an appraisal or inspection. But other contingencies, like ones tied to your previous home selling first, are less desirable for home sellers. These types of contingencies may cause your offer to get overlooked in favor of other options. 

Our Team Can Help You Find Your Dream Home in JAX

If you’re wondering “How do I make an offer on a home,” Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team can help. Our professional realtors have helped hundreds of home buyers get the best possible deals on their dream homes in Jacksonville, Florida.

Our clients love working with us because of our high-quality customer service, extensive knowledge of the JAX metro area, five-star reviews, and unique buyer guarantees.

This includes our Buy it Back Guarantee, which acts as a risk-free insurance policy for your purchase. With this program, you can return your home to us if you realize it isn’t a good fit after a certain amount of time. Then, we’ll sell it for free.

We offer this guarantee because that’s how confident we are in our ability to match you to a home that meets all your needs.

To learn more about working with our team, give us a call at (904) 544-5252. You can also fill out the form on this page for more information.

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Phil Aitken, Owner/Broker
Phil Aitken is the Owner/Broker with Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team and has over 13 years of Real Estate experience. Phil’s faith and desire for his family’s continued security fuel his business growth and leadership. The Phil Aitken Home Team continues to profoundly impact the people of Jacksonville via supporting several faith-based organizations. Phil gives back a portion of every real estate transaction to The Tim Tebow Foundation and Rethreaded. Find Phil's full story here.